Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, August 21, 2009
Throughout this 3v3 blog, I’ve discussed several skills and strategies to help coaches prepare players for 3v3 tournaments; but the most important thing coaches can do is prepare players for life.
I try to instill the value of practice by showing how all the successes on the field directly relate to the amount of hard work and effort put in. I remind players of what they were like when they first started or what happened when they first tried a fancy move they since mastered; and I explain how all these same principles, regardless of soccer, can apply to other areas of their life. To achieve dreams, set goals and work hard; but to really enjoy achievements, they should follow the path of a good person.
It’s sad to see what some coaches teach their players. Perhaps they don’t realize the influence they have. I’ve had opponents disqualified when I proved their players were overage. (The head coach of my son’s team tried to place an overage player on our team, claiming it was okay because the player wasn’t good. I removed my son from that team and started my own.) I get frustrated if coaches don’t speak up to rectify blatant rule violations. In one game, a referee reversed three blatant calls against us when I showed him the rules sheet, but instead of the other team helping, the coach remained silent while his parents yelled at me and asked the referee who was calling the game. The coach knew the rules, yet he refused to help. On the other hand, I’ve often sided with opponents. For example, I saw an opponent’s player cross midfield, shoot and score, tying the game against us, but the referee couldn’t remember if the player had crossed the line so he disallowed the goal. The other coach argued, and I spoke up on his behalf. They got their goal. We still won the game, and it showed my players we could be honest and still win. At one Nationals, one of my players got a yellow card; but the father wanted his son to switch jerseys with another player in case his son got a second yellow and would have to sit out games. I told the father, “If your son gets another yellow, he will sit out.”
If coaches allow cheating and dishonesty, their players will think it is okay to cheat in other areas of life. Always remember the influence a coach can make. Teach your players to win the right way.
[I hadn’t planned on writing another entry, but I discovered some of my old rival teams recently having players thrown out of games and their teams disqualified. They often asked my teams to join them or for me to help train their players; but I always refused, not because they were rivals, but I didn’t want my players to catch their ideology. This week my son disqualified himself from a golf tournament after he realized the scorecard he signed was three strokes better and would have placed him with the leaders. While I wasn’t happy he assumed the other boy had written the scores correctly, I was proud that he came forward, because no one would have known otherwise. I take that back. He would have known. And I can’t help to think that the way we played soccer all those years influenced his behavior.]
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Learn to perform 1v1 moves fast or on the move so the defense doesn't catch you from behind.
When in Doubt, kick it Out.
On defense, contain and wait for separation; don't stab.
Forwards shouldn’t stand behind their opponent’s back player for a cross. If the back player stops the ball, your forward is now out of the play. Instead, be ready to collect any rebound off the back player.
Let the ball go out if your momentum will take you off the field. Trying to keep the ball in while you leave the field sets up a 3v2 scenario for the other team.
For really young teams, your back player should stand offset of the goal, so a missed back pass doesn’t accidentally roll in.
Shots on goal from opponent's free kicks or kick-ins that aren't touched twice can be allowed to go directly into your goal rather than risking a missed touch that accidentally deflects into your own goal. If they kick the ball in, it's a goal kick. If your player touches it, it's an own goal.
Refrain from shots or crosses from your opponent's corner as intercepted balls mean a 3v2 scenario for your opponent.
If you see a foul, continue playing (or kick the ball out) until you hear the ref's whistle. (I've seen players stop playing and allow a score because they expected a whistle that never came because the ref didn't see the foul.)
For 2v1 backdoor plays, dribble wide to open the back door.
If a forward loses the ball, they must RUN back on defense.
Forwards don’t stand wide when the other team kicks off or your opponents can simply dribble up through the middle.
On defense, if a player is chasing a ball and coming toward you, if you can time your lunge to get to the ball first, cut to either side. Some players kick the ball into the opponent’s legs and the ball bounces behind the defender.
Recruit Fast, Focused Players. [Great players often play-up, so don't forget to search older age brackets.]
If two defenders are on you, what does that mean? A teammate is open!
On sideline restarts, your back player should not take the kick, especially sending a crossing pass. I've seen far too many balls intercepted and shot on open goals.
Don't get down if your opponents score. 3v3 Soccer is a fast-paced, high-scoring game.
Each 3v3 tour has its own set of rules with some differences. Be sure your players know the differences.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Required: Four players (Prefer: 3 players and 1 coach), one soccer ball and one goal.
Setup: Two players are forwards and side by side, while the remaining two players (one of the coaches) are on defense, one in front of the other (the coach up front so he or she can coach).
Drill: The object is for the two forwards to work the ball between the coach and back defensive player while the back player simply stays between the ball and the goal. [Remind the back player that in a game, he or she is responsible for the player with the ball, and that teammates are responsible for running back and cutting off passing lanes; but for this drill, the top defense player will NOT be running back and the back player will REMAIN back; but in a game, the back player can run forward to stop this. In a game, the back player’s job is to force a pass and not allow a direct shot into the goal.]
When the forward with the ball approaches the first defender, he or she has two options: 1) if the defender pushes up, simply pass the ball to his or her teammate and run past the first defender; or 2) if the defender cheats to block the pass, dribble around the defender toward the goal. Once the first defender is beaten, with either a pass or a dribble, the player with the ball should dribble wide (away from his or her teammate) to force the back player to move to one side, thus opening the backdoor. From this position, the player with the ball has two options: 1) pass the ball to his or her teammate who should one touch the ball into the goal; or 2) if the defender moves to stop the pass, simply shoot straight into the goal. [While your defender is taught to stay between the goal and ball, opponents often start this way, but after scoring several backdoors, they will often try to anticipate and stop the pass. Your forwards should be ready for this and simply shoot into the open goal.]
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
1) Soccer Tennis
Set up a rectangle with cones or paint, ten by twenty yards is fine, and place a barrier, preferably a low net, across the middle.
The object is to kick the ball across the net before the ball touches the ground after the ball bounces off the ground or after an initial touch. Players are allowed to juggle as long as desired as long as the ball doesn’t touch the ground.
Scoring is similar to volleyball. My players loved 1v1, 2v2 and sometimes we made the field larger for more players.
2) Two-touch Showdown
This is a game between two players. A soccer ball and three cones are needed for this game.
Position the cones in a triangular shape, about two to three feet apart.
The first player gently taps the ball through the cones to the second player. The second player has to send the ball back through the cones but cannot go through the two cones from which the ball just came through, and the player only gets two touches to perform the maneuver.
Hints: 1) the first touch is crucial in that the player should touch the ball to one side. 2) if the first touch is poor and the player is fairly close to the cone, the player can take a large step and push the ball with the other foot, ankle flicking it through.
Here’s an example of my boys playing two-touch showdown...
3) Soccer Marbles
This is like a soccer game on a field except every player has their own soccer ball and the goals are cones inside the field, similar to hockey or lacrosse. Another ball is used for the game ball.
Players kick their ball, and only their ball, to strike and move the game ball toward their opponent’s goal. [The reason I suggest goals is that players should be able to come through the goal, with their ball, to stop opponents.]
This can be played 1v1 too.
4) Bocce Soccer
This is played similar to the Italian game on an open field, except you use eight soccer balls for the bocce balls and one mini soccer ball for the pallino, and you kick the balls rather than throw them. The game is played with two, four, or eight players.
Ideally, players should be able to tell their soccer balls apart from the other players, i.e. one person uses colored balls while the other uses white balls, etc...
At random, choose a player to kick the pallino (mini soccer ball). The same player will kick his first soccer ball. The purpose of the game is to get your soccer balls as close to the pallino as possible. After the first player has kicked his soccer ball, he is considered “inside” because his ball is closer to the pallino than anyone else. All other players are considered “outside.” Whenever a player is considered “inside,” he forfeits his turn kicking. All “outside” players take turns kicking their soccer balls until one of theirs gets closer to the pallino than the “inside” player.
After all players have kicked, the player that is “inside” is awarded points. One point is awarded to this player for every ball that is closer to the pallino than his closest competitor's ball. After points are awarded, the frame is complete. Start a new frame by electing a new person to kick the pallino and to kick the first soccer ball. A game is won when a player reaches 13 points.